I write dark fiction.
I figured this out today while reading a collection of stories by Robert Shearman called Remember Why You Fear Me. His twisted sense of the world is my twisted sense of the world. We are, as they say, simpatico.
The full title of this book is The Best Dark Fiction of Robert Shearman and in the introduction by Stephen Jones I learned that the writer does not in fact consider himself a horror writer at all. So maybe dark fiction is a more apt title all the way around.
It certainly suits me. I love the horror genre myself but its such a fluid amorphous form of writing that its hard to pin down. And more people when they think of horror think– zombies, ghosties, werewolves, vampires, serial killers–and I rarely write about any of those although they do show up from time to time. But what almost all of my fiction have in common is a certain darkness, an underground earthy sepulchral quality. It’s dark.
I was never content with the label ‘horror writer’. Speculative fiction felt closer to the mark, but not as accessible– you tell somebody that you are a spec writer and they look at you confused, and truthfully that’s a bit how I felt as well. It’s not really a mainstream word.
But Dark Fiction–that’s a cloak that fits pretty nicely. I think I’ll go with that. It’s clear, definable right on the surface but also has depth, mystery. It has a certain come hither to it. It beckons. It makes promises, but not specific ones: you might find vampires, or you might find something less definable, less categorical.
I like that.
So, dear internet: here it is, finally–a label I can live with, thrive with.
I am a Dark Fiction Writer.
And lo and behold Facebook has delivered me a tribe: Dark Writers Unite.